Depeche Mode Photo

Depeche Mode photoI was wandering through our Edinburgh office last month when I came upon this collage of Eighties celebrities, presumably as part of some sort of guilty pleasure thing. Depeche Mode and Carl from Neighbours anyone?

(c) 2014 Mat Smith / Documentary Evidence

A Different Daniel Miller

A different Daniel Miller. Still from 'Take The Money And Run' (1969, dir. Woody Allen)

A different Daniel Miller: still taken from Woody Allen’s madcap 1969 comedy Take The Money And Run.

(c) 2014 Mat Smith / Documentary Evidence

Depeche Mode – Some Great Reward (billboard poster, 1984)

Depeche Mode 'Some Great Reward' (billboard poster)

A billboard poster for Depeche Mode‘s Some Great Reward, London 1984.

Still taken from To The World’s End: Scenes And Characters On London Bus Route, a BBC programme first broadcast in 1985. Available on BBC iPlayer.

(c) 2014 Mat Smith / Documentary Evidence

Unusual Places To Find A Mute Artist Reference No. 1

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Unusual Places To Find A Mute Artist Reference No. 1

An unexpected mention of Blast First goofballs The Butthole Surfers in the excellent Made In America by Bill Bryson (Black Swan, 1994).

The band are mentioned in passing in a chapter entitled Sex And Other Distractions, describing American society’s simultaneous adoration and abhorrence of sex and references to sex since the time of the Founding Fathers.

Bryson is here referring to the tendency of The New York Times to eschew language with any sexual connotation. The full sentence reads thus:

Butthead or butthole appeared sixteen times, again almost always in reference to a particular proper noun, such as the interestingly named pop group Butthole Surfers.

I’m not sure what’s most surprising about this – the fact that Gibby Haynes and co made it into the hallowed pages of The New York Times, or that Bryson considers them a pop group.

(c) 2014 Mat Smith / Documentary Evidence

At Oxfam, Marylebone High Street, London

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At Oxfam, Marylebone High Street, London

Clearly someone offloaded their Erasure collection… (not me).

(c) 2014 Mat Smith / Documentary Evidence

Teany, 90 Rivington Street, New York

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Teany

Teany is the vegetarian restaurant established by Moby and his ex girlfriend Kelly Tisdale, located on Rivington Street, New York, just off Bowery in the Lower East Side.

Moby and Tisdale are no longer involved in the venture, and I don’t believe Moby was ever really ever actively involved, but the pair did pen a book of Kelly’s recipes, and the book included a whole stack of Moby’s self-deprecating Little Idiot drawings. The restaurant even spawned a range of Teany-branded iced tea drinks; I bought one once from a convenience store on Fifth Avenue, but I couldn’t tell you now what flavour it was, or even if I enjoyed it, though I’m slightly surprised I didn’t try to squeeze the empty bottle into my suitcase. The name Teany itself was an amalgam of the words tea and the abbreviation for New York, as well as being an intentional misspelling of teeny, as in small. Which it is.

I’ve been to Teany twice. The first time was in 2005, back when Tisdale and Hall were still the proprietors. It was a hot late summer afternoon in Manhattan, and I’d dragged my pregnant wife across the island to Bowery with the sole intention of getting a drink a Teany. When we got there the place was heaving, the tables outside were all taken, and, well, I was a bit of a chicken about going in places like that. I don’t know why. Mrs S was not hugely impressed with me, mostly because she was tired and grumpy because of bring pregnant, but also because back then the area round Bowery was still a bit edgy.

The second time was this year. My family and I were schlepping around the area in pursuit of, variously, ice cream, rice pudding and cheesecake, all of which were consumed before lunch. Don’t ask why. Rivington Street itself was pretty empty, and when we walked past Teany I thought I would nip inside to take a look and also to try and buy a mug. Back in the day, Teany offered a limited range of merchandise, but they wouldn’t ship to the UK. The webshop ceased trading a few years ago also, and despite some enquiries via an email address off their website, it seemed that a Teany mug was not going to be mine. So I thought I’d pop in and see if they’d sell me one on the off chance.

Sadly that was not meant to be. I had an exchange with a pretty waitress who didn’t speak much English (and who clearly couldn’t work out how to comprehend my English accent), somewhere on the axis between confusing and frustrating. It went a little like this:

‘Do you still sell mugs?’

‘You wan’ milk?’

‘No, I want to buy a mug. Do you still sell mugs?’

‘Milk?’

‘No, a mug.’

‘I’m sorry – whas’ a, a, merg?’

‘It’s like a cup. But, you know, a mug?’

‘You wan’ a cup of milk?’

‘No!’ I then spied a white mug with a red Teany logo on the shelf behind her. ‘One of those!’

‘Ah, you mean a mug!’

‘Yes, do you sell those?’

‘No.’

‘Okay. Bye.’

If I’m honest, I didn’t like the interior much. It was a lot smaller than I thought it would be and, well, a bit shabby. I’m not sure if this is how it would have looked back in the day, but I wasn’t that impressed. I obviously didn’t eat so I can’t comment on the food.

Anyway, I can say I’ve been in now, and I can (not without some disappointment) put to rest my quest for a Teany mug.

As we turned off Rivington and headed down Ludlow, I found this bit of graffiti, which cheered me up.

Grafitti on Ludlow Street

Wise words.

(c) 2014 Mat Smith / Documentary Evidence